Media monitoring involves tracking the output of traditional, social, and broadcast media outlets and authors. While it can be utilized by countless groups – from political think tanks to PR executives – communications teams can use it to gain a better understanding of the effectiveness of their various strategies and campaigns. Media monitoring is more than simply searching for every single mention of a company over time; it is the compilation of relevant mentions based on personalized and structured search parameters. An effective strategy can highlight the most relevant content on a day-to-day basis, while also providing a structured breakdown of media coverage broken into predetermined categories, such as competitor stories and industry updates.  

Why is Media Monitoring Important?

Media monitoring is important because it helps communications teams stay informed of relevant breaking news, the latest industry developments, communications crises, and their company’s representation in the media. Though strategies and objectives vary from company to company, a clearly focused approach can yield a more in-depth analysis. Amidst an abundance of media coverage, an effective monitoring strategy can cut through the noise and help home in on the most significant, most shared, and most widely syndicated pieces.

Its value can be applied to numerous company departments, with the potential to offer teams data-driven insights to guide their individual objectives.

For instance, immediate updates on company mentions can help PR and marketing teams respond to breaking news, while regular alerts and updates can inform crisis management strategies. Teams can also pinpoint widely shared stories and quickly identify the percentage of stories featuring quotes from company representatives. The more information a PR team has on hand, the easier it is it for them to implement an effective crisis response and track its success.

Keeping abreast of media coverage that mentions your company is vital, as is being informed of the latest industry news and updates. Marketing strategies can take advantage of hot industry topics that receive unprecedented levels of coverage and social engagement. By capitalizing on trending industry topics, you can increase your company’s mentions across key industry outlets.

Furthermore, monitoring enables sales teams to understand what has their competitors’ products attracting unrivaled media attention or scrutiny. Sales departments can capitalize on the insights gained from identifying the drivers of both positive and negative competitor media coverage related to products or services to further distinguish their brand from rivals’ in a meaningful way.

The ability to make informed decisions based on contextualized data analytics is the key benefit that links each of these departments. By pairing regular media updates with an understanding of the topics and circumstances that drive mentions, coverage, sentiment, and sharing, a strategic media plan can provide company-wide benefits.

Key Media Monitoring Metrics

The sheer volume of available metrics can make it difficult to distinguish the most significant from the least. While different metrics may appeal to various teams across a company, there are a few key metrics that can build a foundation to inform multiple business strategies.

Reputation Management

Charting the prevalence of specific topics over time yields one of the fundamental metrics that can provide crucial context to weekly, quarterly, or annual media coverage. While spikes in coverage may be caused by specific events, certain subtopics may be gaining more media coverage than others within these spikes. Tracking this data can aid communications teams in understanding the topics that garner the most media pickup and traction with their audiences.

For instance, perhaps articles about CEO comments drove Q2 coverage, or the second half of the year saw workplace-related discussions double. Tracking the volume and tone of reputational drivers can help communications teams to identify what drove company mentions, positive and negative sentiment, and social sharing, and provide useful information to guide their communications strategies going forward.

Competitive Intelligence

Using metrics to track your own campaigns and initiatives can help your communications team to understand both what went well and what they can improve upon. Tracking competitor coverage, on the other hand, can help communications teams to inform strategies to outmaneuver key competitors by distinguishing the good from the bad of their PR efforts.

Studying competitor media coverage will allow you to identify the drivers of competitors’ negative coverage, and to learn from the effectiveness of competitors’ media campaigns and crises response.

Messaging and Campaigns

Armed with media insights, communications teams can plan future media strategies, initiatives, and campaigns to boost their positive media coverage. This information can also highlight why past initiatives may not have succeeded. Media monitoring will also allow you to track and understand rates of press release pickup, and whether recent spokesperson quotes or executive interviews are driving coverage.

Likewise, when combined with sentiment metrics, teams can dive into understanding the specific drivers of both positive and negative coverage for a period relative to previous quarters. The success of new product launches can be tracked with both sentiment statistics and sharing figures. Pinpointing emerging trends and topical engagement can help communications teams plan future campaigns to improve social media engagement. By understanding how topics resonate with readers and influencers, you can develop an informed media campaign.  


When tracked correctly, influencer metrics are also highly informative to a communications strategy. A good media campaign will know which outlets and authors to target for maximum impact. For the best results, your team must be aware of both the experts in the field and the influencers that can capture your target audience, generate the most relevant coverage, and earn the most social engagement across relevant social platforms.

Likewise, diving into influencer metrics can provide clarity on coverage that may be receiving more social media momentum than normal, as well as recent coverage that is trending more negatively compared to previous weeks. Knowing which authors or outlets cover industry issues more critically than others, as well as those that do more to promote their work on social media platforms, can provide an important level of context to monitored media.

Insights into Data-Driven Strategies

Media monitoring can provide a wealth of benefits to communications teams, from regular updates of media mentions to in-depth statistical information based on coverage over time. Examining the factors that drive media coverage can help teams to make data-driven communications decisions. When employed correctly, media metrics can provide context to coverage trends, ultimately enabling communications teams to formulate successful strategies.

At PublicRelay, we offer media monitoring and analytics programs that help our clients to identify relevant media mentions and compile thorough metrics-based reports. Click here to turn your media monitoring into media intelligence!

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